August 12, 2009, - 3:41 pm

Who is Jonathan Tukel?: Justice Dept. Attorney Who Outed Muslim Informant, My Client (& Probably Cost Him His Life); Ann Coulter’s Friend

By Debbie Schlussel

Longtime readers know the story of former federal prosecutor Richard Convertino.

Rick, a rising star at the Justice Department, built a career on convicting drug kingpins, mobsters, and eventually Islamic terrorists.  In 2003, he obtained convictions of members of an Islamic terrorist cell living in Detroit, who planned to blow up the U.S. Air Force base in Incirlik, Turkey (from which U.S. and Israeli war planes take off), a Jordanian hospital, a Vegas casino/hotel, and Disneyland.


Jon Tukel: Federal Prosecutor Deliberately Leaked Terror Trial Info, Including Name of Confidential Informant, Now Head of Natl. Security

Two juries found that the men–Muslim aliens–were Islamic terrorists.  But political ambitious, Islamo-pandering figures in the Detroit U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Justice Dept. in Washington never wanted him to convict them.  They blocked him every step of the way, and after the jury verdicts, they conducted a witch hunt to find ways to overturn the case.  They–not the terrorists’ criminal defense lawyers–moved to overturn the case.  And then they prosecuted Convertino, after months of anonymously attacking and savaging him in the Detroit, national, and global news media.

I represented, pro bono, a secular, pro-American Shi’ite Muslim from Lebanon who risked his life, assisted in the case, and served as an FBI informant in many other cases.  (I represented him in a suit in which he was suing Hezbollah money launderers and cigarette smugglers for money they extorted from his father in Lebanon.)  Although he was not an “informant” in the Detroit terror cell case, he assisted in it, and as an informant in other cases, helped put over 200 Islamic criminals involved in drug deals, money laundering, cigarette smuggling, etc., behind bars.

That Muslim–in a show of appreciation from America–was deported back to Lebanon (and I, therefore, could not continue his lawsuit), unlike the Detroit terror cell members, like Karim Koubriti, who is now driving a truck and will become a U.S. citizen.

But, once he got there, there were numerous attacks on his life, and, after a while, he eventually stopped contacting me.  Before that, I was the recipient of numerous, valid complaints from him about how he was being ripped off by Steven Emerson, for whom he did a lot of work (and in response, got treated like crap and not paid what he was told he’d get in return). I believe this secular Muslim informant–who did so much work for America–is now dead.

The reason this Muslim informant had attempts made on his life–and why he is probably now dead–is because his name was leaked to Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter, who irresponsibly published it on the paper’s front page in January 2004.  Rick Convertino begged Ashenfelter not to publish the informant, my client’s, name.  But Ashenfelter did so anyway, jeopardizing his life.

For years, we suspected that the leaker was Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel.  Now,  as confirmed by federal documents, we know that he is the man responsible causing the attempted hits on my client, one of which was probably finally successful.  Mr. Convertino is now suing the federal government over their illegal actions revolving around the terrorism case.  Pursuant to that suit, a court filing, last week, disclosed that Mr. Tukel admitted in an April deposition that “he talked extensively to Mr. Ashenfelter on his cell phone on the evening of Dec. 12, 2003, concerning matters related to Mr. Convertino.”

Ashenfelter hid behind the phony “the public’s right to know” in order to hide the identity of his sources–one of whom was also the highly unethical judge on the case, Gerald Rosen, and another of whom we now know is Jonathan Tukel, a man who will sacrifice an informant’s life, in order to get revenge on a competitor within the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  This is the behavior of a mobster thug, not a Justice Department official (with all due apologies to the Mob for comparing it to Jonathan Tukel).

But the public has a right to know when an employee of the federal government–the so-called “Justice” Department–endangers the lives of informants, deliberately outing them.

Yes, a federal judge improperly gave Ashenfelter cover, but now Mr. Tukel–a likely indirect murderer–is trying to hide from his obligation to disclose e-mails involved in his leaking operation that endangered my client and likely killed him.  He is trying to protect e-mails he sent using U.S. government e-mail, under a phony “attorney-client privilege” excuse.  But Mr. Tukel sent e-mails to his lawyer James Robinson (a former Deputy Attorney General and, in a huge conflict of interest, also Judge Rosen, the other leaker’s, attorney) on taxpayer time and using the U.S. government e-mail system.

Jon Tukel Helped Terrorist Karim Koubriti

Against Prosecutor Rick Convertino

Mr. Tukel’s client was and is supposed to be you–the taxpaying citizens of the United States of America.  And we have a right to know the extent to which federal servants working for us will go to jeopardize the lives who help stop crimes and get the bad guys.

Until things change, it is because of actions like Mr. Tukel’s that I would not advise a client–particularly a Muslim–to become an informant for the U.S. government.  The government did nothing to punish Mr. Tukel, shielded him, and he goes on with his lazy “work” at the U.S. Attorney’s office (spending taxpayer time and resources to plot his stonewalling).  What message does this send to anyone that would become an informant for the FBI or any other federal agency?  To me–and to my client, who learned too late–it means that you cannot depend on U.S. government bureaucrats to keep your identity a secret.  And, therefore, it is not worth it to risk your life so long as reporters and the Justice Department defend people like Jonathan Tukel.

So, who is Jonathan Tukel?

He isn’t some liberal from the Obama or Clinton Administrations.  In fact, he was the Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan–the number two Justice Department official in town under President George W. Bush.

Although I hope and believe she would never condone this disgusting, despicable behavior and probably isn’t aware of it, Mr. Tukel is a good friend of Ann Coulter’s, and she personally thanked him in one of her first books, as well as her latest book, “Guilty:  Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America.”  In “Guilty,” she specifically identifies Jon Tukel as one of her friends and credits him among several others with helping her write her book.  They are good friends from their days at the University of Michigan Law School, and it is believed that she used her influence prior to this whole affair to get Mr. Tukel a top job at the Justice Department–a Deputy U.S. Attorney General job in Washington–in 2003, toward the beginning of the Bush Administration.  He was a miserable failure, was basically fired, and quickly returned to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit.

I certainly hope Ann will re-evaluate her friendship with this thug.

Regardless, Mr. Tukel remains employed by the Justice Department–instead of behind bars, where he belongs.  Even worse, he is now Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Counterterrorism Unit a/k/a the National Security Unit, where he oversees all federal investigations into terrorism and can jeopardize more lives of Islamic informants, the few that there are.

And, while I used to be a strong cheerleader for serving as a government informant, Jonathan Tukel should serve as an example to all potential confidential informants to think twice–especially if you want your identity to remain a secret.

With vengeful cretins like him in charge, you’re putting your life–and likely hastened death–in his hands . . . and big mouth. The names and identities of confidential informants at the mercy of Jonathan Tukel are likely to be made more obvious on the street than Mr. Tukel’s hair plugs.

There are many appropriate words to describe Jonathan Tukel, most of them R- and X-rated.  But the most accurate ones–other than scumbag–is simply this:  traitor and rat.

Jonathan Tukel is, incredibly, now also a lecturer at the University of Michigan Law School, this fall. One wonders what courses he’s teaching. A couple of suggestions:

* Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Ethics for Attorney Conduct
* How To Betray Informants and Screw America’s National Security in Ten Seconds Flat
* I Helped Terrorists and Got Away With It, and All I Got Was this T-Shirt (and a Continued Govt. Job)

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18 Responses

When someone outs a CIA covert operative, they have broken a law. Are there similar laws for informants? Are there ethics rules covering Tukel’s behavior?


chsw on August 12, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Unbelievable. Confidential Informants are not confidential. And, Turkel leaked identity to some reporter which was the cause in fact of the CI’s murder. What did they trumped up on Richard Convertino…?

You need to write a book.

goldenmike4393 on August 12, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Remember, to Modern Liberals, courage is knowingly doing the wrong thing.

Alz on August 12, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Its kind of funny how you were talking about defending the Muslim guy and how he might be dead, while having tons of comments throughout this site from people who just dont care. Do you want us to feel sorry for the guy? You who keep telling us of the horror and blight to humanity that is Islam? Shouldn’t you be pleased that there might be one less potential terrorist. You’ve been telling us how horrible they are, even letting people post hate speech aimed at them and you didnt care.

N: Did you miss the part where I said he’s a “secular Muslim”? He doesn’t believe in Islam. That’s why he was a good guy. He didn’t buy into that hateful BS. DS

nakruh on August 12, 2009 at 11:11 pm

This terrible story sounds like a Vince Flynn novel. Only in his novels the bad guys get taken care of the way they should.

Joe on August 12, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Yes, Islam is hateful bs. It’s not like the bible tells us to kill gays, non-christians, adulterers, children who curse their parents, or has rules on how to own slaves. We might as well round up all Muslims and put them into camps, then put them all to death. It’s the only solution.

Nakruh01 on August 13, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Yes Islam is hateful BS….How many Christians (or Jews, Hindus, Bhuddists, atheists, agnostics)that you know or read about strap bombs to their kids, stone women to death for being raped, force 7 year olds into marriage, hang gay people, fly planes into buildings, kill their sisters and mothers because of their “duty to their religion”…..there are so many atrocities commited by Muslims in the name of the so-called “””religion of peace””” there isn’t enough room in the world to list them all….

    Charmaine on August 13, 2009 at 1:18 am


      “…hang gay people…”

      Equally popular is the practice of tying them UP and dropping them from tall buildings. The crowds applaud as they squirm to their brutal death. You can see video of this all over the web.

      goldenmike4393 on August 13, 2009 at 11:33 am


    gene hauber on March 12, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Nakruh01–you are an annoying troll to this site. I know you know better. You are like an ostrich with his head in the sand. Wake up dude! You make a dumb/ignorant statement in your post–Debbie points out what you didn’t care to read for yourself, or just chose to ignore…then you come back with another dumb statement–trying to compare the Bible to the koran–which I know from recent posts you were shown the differences. Read the post by Charmaine and Stop acting like a dumb troll.

Anyway, Debbie, this is where you are PRICELESS. You name names and you don’t back down from anyone. G-d bless you. I hope you send this post to Ann Coulter. She is amazing to me–I really like her (not quite as much as you, though). Still, she needs to examine this evidence and deal with this Tukel appropriately. Please let us know what happens–I’m sure she will at least listen to what you say. What she does from there, I anxious to see. I wonder if your client is really dead now–a scary thought. Sad we have to see our own government with a jaundice eye for the reasons you document here.

BB on August 13, 2009 at 3:14 am

Nakruh01…that’s the only answer….you hit the nail on the head….will stated!

james collins on August 13, 2009 at 3:15 am

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Unfortunately, in the topsy-turvey world of liberal fascism, everyday becomes Opposite Day. So here you have a Real American Hero like Richard Convertino who valiantly goes after potential terrorists only to be vilified and unjustly prosecuted, reputation and life destroyed, by the very people who should be supporting him, while a rank opportunist is glorified and promoted even to the extent of getting two plum positions, one in the Justice department and one at U of M Law School. How could the Justice department knowingly out an informant? Everyone who takes an oath of office pledges to uphold the constitution and Protect and Defend our country and it’s citizenry. Words mean things. People Matter !! I am so sorry for those mentioned in this story. I will watch for some remedial action on the part of Ann Coulter. Americans can clearly see that it is not What you know, but Who you know that matters. You simply cannot have a Justice Department that is predicated on deceit, fraud and abuse. I hope that Richard Convertino is hugely successful in his lawsuit !!

RoadsScholar on August 13, 2009 at 6:55 am

That’s what liberals do to mock and ridicule the oppositions to marginalize them and say it doesn’t matter. They believe that it’s all fake and made up protests because that is what they do. Their logic is if we do it, then they must be as well. God didn’t give them brains, but damn he sure did given huge egos. It was sickening watching them use a young girl to ask a question. The question was written on an index card, and everyone always walks around with index cards in their pocketbooks and back pockets. As she was reading off the card, the woman on her left mouth was moving in unison with the girl. I thought that was unusual as well. Now, it has been noted that her mother was a huge Obama supporter and donor, a lawyer and the Obama daughters played with her and that Michelle Obama knew this woman. So now I get and understand why they believe in public that the outraged public is faking their outrage. I would hate to be a liberal (Democrats) or liberal lite (Republicans) when these outrage voters can remove a third of then Senate and all of the House. But they won’t get any sympathy from me.


I was unaware of this story and I wasn’t a conservative activist at the time this story took place. This story makes me sick to my stomach. The Justice Department is responsible for his death when all he was trying to do is help pinpoint Islamic terrorist (or as they are now known as overseas contingency operatives) who were living in our Country. He should have received our thanks and what he got was political scorn. The liberal live in another world were everything has a price and people can be brought. They prattled on about Valerie Plum and her dweeby, repugnant husband Joe Wilson (their story coming to a Cineplex nears you starring the liberal mouthpiece of Hollywood Sean Penn in Fair Game). They aren’t making this film for wads of cash; they are making it to continue to bash a Republican President. So, trying to spin a story that supports the outcome they wanted. At the time, I found the story of Sandy Berger who shoved documents down his pants from the National Archives, was overlooked by most of the press was much more interesting in light of 9/11(it was this story shown by FoxNews that made me a fan of theirs, particularly Bill O’Reilly).

This story is very interesting as well and would love to read a book about the details and have it made into a film. I would encourage you to write that book. You are a wonderful writer. I will forward the link regarding this story to family, friends and colleagues.

Eileen on August 13, 2009 at 10:43 am

Since Kathleen Parker and Ann Coulter are both frauds I think we need to arrange a world federation wrestling smackdown between the two. they can pull their each other’s hair to see who has the darkest roots. I am betting on Coulter.

What are the three differences between these two and Debbie? One, intelligence, two integrity and three, Debbie is one thing they will never be… a natural blonde. Eta your hearts out Kathy and Anny!!

BF: Sigh. Alas, I’m a fake blonde, too. Sorry to disappoint you. As I always say, I’m not dumb b/c I’m not really blonde. DS

Bill Ford on August 13, 2009 at 10:58 am

Well Ann Coulter has really been revealed as a disgusting person and closet feminist. She was going to support Hillary over McCain until he picked Palin. Now she attacks Kathleen Parker because she didn’t like Sarah Palin which some how this is new the litmus test if you are conservative. G-d help us all.

I have to say for Parker’s faults I have her book Save the Males and it is a very well written book and very readable. Even reading this she never was super conservative and doesn’t really hide this. If you read this book you can say that but she made some excellent points in this book. This hatred towards her is more because she didn’t like Palin more then anything else and it is why I don’t support Palin. Her supporters are absolute lunatics that you have to bow down to her at all times as Debbie has said as well. Parker certainlly has brought up certain issues that are very important and she deserves respect for that.

But people like Coulter just seem to go the extreme to hide the fact that they really are frauds.

However, was a more disturbing is that groups like the American Family Association support her and Palin as well and again show how much feminism is a problem in both Judaism and Christianity and I am currently a book written by someone who respects religon about the feminization of Christianity which also can be said about Judaism. Why would any family organization support Coulter when she has never been married and just has a good time.

adam6275 on August 13, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Islam is evil and sick faith.Muslims will kiss all
jews ass very soon .Isreal will rule over arab land
time will show.

paul gear on August 15, 2009 at 1:51 am

Debbie-nice picture of Tukel–Same on I used on my site against Tukel. Great article. Thank you for standing up against Tukel. He is a monster of a man. I have talked to you before about Tukel, and a case that he was in charge of against my brother. Tukel lied continually, made false charges, and fabricated evidence…anything he could do to win the case. I think the only reason he came back from his dream job in washington was because of Ricks case, and my brothers. Its good to see that someone is seeing him for who he really is. Thank you Debbie.

BH on September 25, 2009 at 6:12 am

The epitome of evil! We have seen what this man has done. He fabricates evidence, commits forgery, accuses the innocent and lets the guilty go free, and now we see that he is possible even capable of murder! All in the name of ambition! We need a public voice like yours to expose this man (if he can even be called that). Thank you so much!

Lydia on October 3, 2009 at 11:38 pm

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